What worries 13 to 16-year-olds? According to the exclusive Guardian survey, they share the same televiewing, the same urge to shop, the same fears and preoccupations about work and relationships. Yet, beyond these personal concerns, the outside world seems of little interest. They are uninterested in politics and unimpressed by politicians. They have too many worries close at home to consider changing the world. Respondents to the survey were asked what they worried about and 72 per cent said their chances of getting a job when they left school.
Suzanne Lucas, 15, from Edinburgh, wants to be an actress or a model. “Sometimes I think I’m not going to make it in acting or modeling and what am I going to end up like? I really want to stay in at school and get a good education, so if I don’t make modeling and acting I can always go for something else.”
Ben Taylor, 16, from Somerset, says: “On the whole my teachers are okay but we’ve lost the best ones because of the education cuts. I get on well with my form teacher, he’s one of the ones who makes an effort. You work harder for a teacher you like.”
“Politics? Not interested really,” said one of the most typical, Mark, 16, from Devon. “I don’t know much about it and I don’t feel like learning. They all seem the same to me.”
64 per cent of the respondents selected the environment as their concern.
Robert Nielson, 16, from Hastings, says: “I worry about environment. It’s the cutting down and burning of the rainforest that bothers me.”
A widely-shared worry is safety outside the home.
Lisa Jackman, 14, lives on the outskirts of the Sussex village of Arundel, amid antique shops and strolling tourists. “I don’t know if the world is more violent than when my parents were younger but my mum says there were more police walking about then. I’m scared to go out of the door really. Because I watch the news a lot, I get scared.”
Michel Mendel, 15, from Essex talks about himself. “I like to watch Eastenders. I don’t watch football but I watch the snooker. I used to play computer games but I got a bit bored.”
James Ogden is 16 and lives in Milton Keynes. He goes to St John’s School because it’s going to help him when he’s older to get a job. “I think there are drugs at school, there is always talk though I think they might be boasting. I wouldn’t take drugs myself, I can’t see the point. It’s a waste. I’d rather spend my money on my dog. I am concerned about the environment but not frantic about it.”
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